Five Things Needed From A The Witcher TV Adaptation
The Witcher has been a long standing franchise out of Poland. The book (Sword of Destiny) that kicked off the whole phenomenon is now 25 years old, while translations into English are still making their way over to us even now in 2017. The franchise has seen a film and television adaptation in the form of ‘The Hexer’, both of which were quite poorly received respectively, but it was the step into gaming that made the most waves in non-Polish speaking nations.
The Witcher debuted on PC, a superbly developed RPG that gave players choice and presented them with a dark, divisive narrative. The Witcher also possessed a rock-solid gameplay core that was expanded and improved, along with the decision-making and storytelling into its sequel Assassins of Kings and finally, the Multi Game of the Year Award-winning The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The thing that almost every critic had in common when discussing any of The Witcher games was the praise for the world and stories told within it – that’s something that will hopefully extend to the newest attempt to bring The Witcher to the televised format.
This week it was announced that Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher series was once again going to get a TV series inspired by the novels, but industry heavyweights Netflix lending their services to make it happen along with Mr. Sapkowski himself serving as a creative consultant. No release date, casting or any further details have been revealed so it’s left me to ponder about what I might want in a Witcher television series; those key pillars have been documented below:
1/ Episodic Structure
More and more TV series are attempting to create an overarching narrative that extends across an entire season, in some cases over multiple seasons. What I’m most concerned with from the TV series are strong, standalone and self-contained stories in each episode. One of the great strengths of the games, particularly The Witcher 3, are the many side quests; not just simple fetch quests, but large, all-encompassing tales that featured stories as deep as the primary objective. If each episode saw Geralt of Rivia take on a conspiracy filled investigation, or a life-threatening hunt, with loose links to an overall narrative would be perfect!
2/ Connections to the Games
I’m aware that Mr. Sapkowski distanced himself from CD Projekt Red’s series, but thankfully he’s only in a consulting role. Netflix has recently shown significant interest in gaming, what with the approaching Castlevania adaptation being just around the corner, they would be wise to look at what CD Projekt Red has done and perhaps borrow aspects from the series to weave in with the narrative they wish to tell in this new series. Also, if Netflix want to squeeze a handful of references to Gwent in there for good measure then I won’t object!
3/ A Long Term Plan
In some respects this flies in the face of my initial point, but while I’m right behind the idea of self-contained stories in each episode, if there are some light threads in each episode that gradually build towards a major confrontation that would be the ideal way to close out any season of the show. Perhaps similarly to the hit series Supernatural (specifically its first five seasons), The Witcher could be filled with smaller, contained stories that have loose links to a larger plot that won’t come together until multiple seasons down the track. This would be great for more casual consumers of the show but would also provide a rewarding payoff for the more passionate viewers.
4/ Top Notch Casting
The greatest strength of The Witcher games were its characters and those who assumed the roles. Everything felt believable and we bought into the plights that the characters found themselves embroiled in, and for as brilliant as the writing was, the primary reason for this buy-in was the casting. If Netflix can find themselves the right people to assume the roles of Geralt, Yennefer, Triss, Ciri and any other prominent character then they’ve already gone a long way towards crafting a massive success.
5/ Don’t Rush It
As CD Projekt have proven, brilliance takes time. Just like The Witcher 3 was a slow burn up to release, everyone involved in this televised adaptation needs to just take their time, and show the franchise the love that it’s been shown in the past. While it was only February when the Castlevania series was announced and now we know that it’s coming to screens in July, I expect (and hope for) a much longer lead time for The Witcher. Presumably live-action, something like the Witcher carries a bit more depth than the Belmont’s story, and so in turn, it will probably take much longer to come to fruition. Take your time and make this right Netflix, I’d be happy if we don’t see this until later in 2018.
So those are just a couple of the key pillars I think must underpin what the future of the Netflix developed Witcher television series should be. What do you think? What would you like to see? Sound off in the comments below with some of your thoughts